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NEWS | July 13, 2015

Signal battalion brings life to joint exercise

By Story by Sgt. Eben Boothby 335th Signal Command (Theater)

U.S. JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – Signal soldiers provide the communications heart beat to U.S. Army exercises all over the world. They show up on the scene and make it possible for everyone involved to use phones, email, and even surf the net. At the beginning of June, companies from the 392nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion (ESB) headed in three different directions to provide this support to Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) 78, which takes place throughout the month of June in three different states.

Alpha Company went to Fort McCoy, Wis., Bravo to Fort Bragg, N.C., and Charlie to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. Once companies had boots on the ground, soldiers set up their communications equipment and securely connected to each other forming the voice and data network for all soldiers participating in the exercise.

CSTX 78 is an extensive multi-phase operation designed to prepare soldiers for overseas deployment. It’s one of many exercises that signal soldiers, like troops from the 392nd ESB, support all year long as part of Operation Grecian Firebolt, the 335th Signal Command (Theater)-led annual operation that provides communication support to the war fighter during training exercises conducted throughout the U.S.

“These soldiers are eager to learn and excited to participate in such an extensive exercise,” said Charlie Company, 392nd ESB 1st Sgt. Carlson Cox. “My soldiers are the best, they go out there and perform as professionals every day maintaining vital communications for thousands of soldiers in the field.”

After almost a week of setup, part of the 392nd was tasked to provide communications support to the 113th Sustainment Brigade, a National Guard unit from Greensboro, N.C. 

“It took a lot of dedication and teamwork to get us through the first week,” said Spc. Stephen Ramos, Charlie Company, 392nd ESB soldier and native of Fairfax, Va. To assist the 113th, more than three hundred feet of cable had to be entrenched by pickaxe in the hot sun with over 90 percent humidity.

Setup complete, the 113th could start operations. “Those signal soldiers are doing an amazing job,” said Staff Sgt. Kirk Sanders, a computer network defense integrator from the 113th. “We couldn’t do our work without their support.” 

CSTX 78 is scheduled to end June 23.